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Bill Scott, Summit Point Motorsports Park owner, dies at 71

December 08, 2009|By JULIE E. GREENE

SUMMIT POINT, W.Va. -- William H. "Bill" Scott, owner of Summit Point Motorsports Park and BSR Inc., and a 1970 Formula Vee world champion, has died, longtime friend and professional colleague Roger Lyle said Tuesday.

Scott, 71, of Middleburg, Va., died Monday. He had been battling cancer, Lyle said.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara, and children.

BSR Inc. trained thousands of drivers in accident-avoidance techniques, including defensive driving and counter-terrorism tactics, Lyle said. Drivers trained through BSR included those for government agencies such the CIA, the State Department and the Secret Service, as well as the U.S. Air Force and diplomatic agencies, Lyle said.

"Bill was a good man. He was a tough man. On the racetrack and off the racetrack, he was hard to beat. He was down-to-earth," said Lyle, of Hagerstown.

Lyle is president emeritus of the Mid-Atlantic Road Racing Club, a motorcycle racing club based at Summit Point Raceway.

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"He was a family man, a big family man," Lyle said.

Word of Scott's death was spreading through the racing community, with posts at RoadRacingWorld.com and Dorkiphus.net, a site for regional Porschephiles.

Lyle said Scott had a collection of vintage Porsche tractors.

Scott was a driver in the Sports Car Club of America in the 1960s, racing open-wheeled Volkswagen bugs that had been turned into race cars, Lyle said. He competed in a national series and in Europe, where Scott earned the title of Formula Vee world champion in 1970.

He was teaching driving in 1979 when the local track was for sale and Scott bought it, according to Herald-Mail archives. Now a motorsports park, it has four paved tracks, and unpaved tracks.

"He was a great guy who applied his intelligence in an unusual combination of motor racing and education," said Bill Reichardt, vice president for business development for Summit Point Automotive Research Center, the parent company of the motorsports park and BSR Inc.

Summit Point employs more than 30 year-round employees and many seasonal employees.

Scott trained race car drivers before starting to train those who were not race car drivers, Reichardt said.

Lyle said the Air Force was losing drivers in missions overseas as they were driving generals and diplomats, Lyle said. So Scott devised a training program for government agency drivers.

Brian Redman, a championship race car driver and friend of Scott's, said he knew of Scott and then got to know him after going to a vintage race at Summit Point Raceway in 1991.

The conversation led to Redman, and his son, James, starting the Jefferson 500, a vintage race car event held in May at Summit Point Motorsports Park, said Redman, who lives in Vero Beach, Fla. The race returned in 2009 after a few years off, Reichardt said.

Redman said Scott was a geologist by training -- he earned a doctorate in geophysics from Yale University -- but his passion was racing.

In a 1992 Herald-Mail interview, Scott said of racing: "It's real life. It has its own heartbeat. I gave up my profession for racing. I think I was better at that than I would have been at teaching or research."

Scott won several major championships. His titles included champion of the 1968 European Formula Vee and the 1968 U.S. Formula Vee, and world champion of the 1969 Formula Ford and 1970 Formula Vee. Scott's resume lists him as the 1971 and 1972 U.S. Professional Super Vee champion.

Scott's greatest achievement as a race car driver was clinching the world championship for Formula Vee in 1970 by finishing second in a race at the Nurburgring in Germany, Redman said.

"This was really an outstanding achievement because the Nurburgring is really the most difficult road-racing track in the world," Redman said.

The 14 1/2-mile track in the Eifel Mountains has 175 turns.

Redman said Scott returned to the race the following year, but his car broke down. Scott walked off the track on to a public road and got hit by a car, Redman said. The accident shattered Scott's hip, an injury that troubled him the rest of his life.

"Bill was a truly remarkable individual, who always thought of others before himself, and in spite of the great difficulties he had, he always was looking forward to the next challenge," Redman said.

That included training other drivers.

BSR Inc., the driver-training business, has expanded over the years and now encompasses 715 acres, according to BSR Inc.'s Web site.

In addition to racing and training drivers, Scott started a gourmet apple orchard at Summit Point, Lyle said. The orchard was plowed under several years ago to make way for the Summit Point training campus.

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